Seth-ern Charm: Model/Dancer Seth Fornea to Get the Party Started at One Mighty Weekend
In case you’ve been living in gay oblivion, you’re sure to have seen Seth Fornea grace your social media pages, making a cameo at any number of circuit parties and Pride events across the country, or as the latest in-demand eye-candy from adult media leader COLT Studios.
The self-proclaimed “ginger bear” along with partner and fellow party-starter Jared Bradford Leblanc have become a fixture on the gay party circuit as promoters, dancers and hosts. However, don’t let those mischievous, piercing blues and rugged alpha male looks fool you.
Fornea sets himself apart from the plethoric pool of pretty faces as the smoldering show-stopper with boy-next-door charm and intelligence. Before a dancing gig in 2010 that launched his gay nightlife career, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a Food Chemist and holds both a Bachelors and Masters in Analytical Chemistry.
You’ll have the chance to meet the couple at this year’s One Mighty Weekend, a man-soaked and sun-filled weekend June 5 – 9. This four day extravaganza includes pool parties, theme parks, circuit parties, and of course, the chance to mingle with Fornea and Co.
I chatted with the Louisiana native about his transition from science to modeling, coming out and what to expect at this year’s One Mighty Weekend.
Erik Caban: First off, tell me about your appearance here in Orlando for One Mighty Weekend? What will you be up to?
Seth Fornea: My partner, Jared Bradford Leblanc, and I are the official party boys of One Mighty Weekend. Over the course of the weekend, we will be dancing/hosting/promoting at all of the Reunion Pool parties during the day and the Magic Journeys parties at night that take place at the Buena Vista Palace and Arabian Nights.
Seeing as this article will be promoting Pride month and the festivities here in Orlando, I was wondering if you could tell me about your coming out story? Was the experience especially difficult, growing up in Louisiana?
I grew up in Angie, Louisiana, a town of 240 people in an area of Louisiana commonly referred to as the “Florida Parishes.” The area has strong roots in Protestant fundamentalism and their strong-minded toughness. In short, races still don’t mix that well and gays certainly aren’t accepted by the average public. I was in the closet for all my adolescent and teen years. I attended a private high school, “Bowling Green,” that was basically a monoculture of Caucasian Protestants. Being an undercover gay in classrooms filled with daily hateful rhetoric was daunting. Coaches, teachers, and principals forced their personal beliefs on students and the whole experience was very droid-like. I didn’t come alive until I left south Louisiana and attended college in Natchitoches, Louisiana at Northwestern State University.
College was a complete 180 compared to high school. Scholastic achievement was still the same but the freedom to choose friends from all walks of life was now available. I became an avid rower and tri-athlete. I made friends who were real – not just because I was forced into a classroom with them – but friends who I chose because of their character. The experience was amazing. I remained largely “asexual” in college and focused on my academic studies in chemistry and my athletic achievement in rowing. At the end of my college experience I became enamored by a Venezuelan friend in my senior physics class – who happened to be gay. I went on my first real date in my entire life with him at the age of 22. At that point, there was no turning back and I finally accepted my sexuality and began to slowly tell my friends and family. So in short, yes. The process of hiding my sexuality was very difficult and sad.
After telling the first person, the process became quite easy and pleasurable.
June is also Pride month. What does “Pride” mean to you?
“Pride” means being true to myself and not apologizing for it. I have changed a lot from the scared 17 year old boy who hated himself. I am a grown man now and very proud of the path I choose, the decisions I make, and the people I keep company with. “Pride” is delightful self acceptance and the courage to share with others.
Who inspires you?
The people that inspire me most are the people that disagree with the equality movement. They send a resounding message to me, that more work still needs to be done to catch the hearts and minds of the voting public up with the educated world. When people spill hateful speech about minority groups deserving equal treatment under the law, it inspires me to share the correct message with them. The problem is not who they are – it’s who they have been nurtured to be and the thought process they were indoctrinated with. I am inspired by the hope that they can change, because they are truly missing out.
You’ve obviously come a long way in your journey, but what would you say to readers who might be struggling in theirs?
I have come a long way but I have a long way to go – and to be honest – I will never get there. Life just isn’t long enough. There really isn’t an end goal because the end is death. So to everyone I say, do the best you desire to do on your journey – it’s the only one you’ve got. I plan to experience as much as possible until I can experience no more and my consciousness is gone.
What would you say to readers who face hostility from friends or family because of who they are?
I would say to them “walk away.” Millions of other people exist in the pool of Earth’s population for you to be friends with. Tell them who you are, let them know where you stand and if they bring unnecessary hostility into your life, leave. I believe in spreading the right message of equality to the world but I don’t believe in living under the same roof as a bigot. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and with those people send a message of truth the people that bring you down.
How did you get started as a model/dancer?
I started dancing at the Heretic in Atlanta for Atlanta Pride in 2010. I was a young shy gay fella and I wanted to challenge myself and do something different.
I see on your Twitter profile, you list yourself as a “Chemist,” among other things. Can you tell me more about that?
I hold both a Bachelors and Masters in Analytical Chemistry. I worked for seven years as an Analytical Chemist for the USDA. I still retain my analytical thinking skills and my education in science influences my everyday life.
Where did your interest in being a model/party host/go-go dancer come from?
My interest started when I was a about 20. I used to wander the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans at night and would peak into the French doors of bars like OZ and the Pub and see the dancers. I was always attracted to the life I imagined they lived and found the mystery of it exciting. After I started dancing, I was approached by a number of photographers and companies. The modeling fell into place on its own. I kept my full time job as a chemist for a while and danced/modeled on the side. I found that I enjoyed it so much that I now do it full time.
I see you’ve done – let’s say – quite a few LGBT events and circuit parties. What has been your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment would be watching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean at the end of Pines Party 2012 with my boyfriend Jared. It was magical!
You almost always work with your partner Jared LeBlanc. Has that ever been difficult?
The difficult part has always been the logistics; flights, trains, buses, hotels, lack of sleep, etc. We definitely combine our networks and connections to make the lifestyle work. It definitely helps when you are on a team.
How long have you two been together? What advice can you offer to other gay men on making it work?
We have been together for two years and one month. I would say to other gay men on trying to make it work to drop the emotion of jealousy. Jared and I both firmly believe that jealousy is a useless emotion that doesn’t accomplish anything. Once that emotion is out of the picture, continue to love each other and it should be easy breezy.
And finally, who’s your celebrity crush?
My celebrity crush is model Roman Dawidoff.
What: One Mighty Weekend
Who: Seth Fornea –
Twitter: @SethFornea, Facebook: facebook.com/SethFornea1; Instagram: instagram.com/sethfornea;
When: June 5 – 9
For schedule and tickets: onemightyweekend.com
Photos Courtesy of Seth Fornea.